The problem is that even specialists in this field of sleep medicine use terms like "awake" or "arousal" with different meanings.
In the sentence emphasized in the question "awake" almost certainly does not mean in the classical sense of Rechtschaffen and Kales (1968), who define awake as being cortically aroused for more than 15 seconds.
Given the context of the claim (sleep apnea), by "awake" he probably means what others call "vegetative arousal". The sentence in the interview before the paragraph you quoted is "And when the body wakes up to breathe, only the body fully wakes up — not the brain.", which is consistent with this [re]definition/interpretation of "awake". Even more so because the more technical term "arousal" never appears in that interview.
I'm not totally sure what to make of the 30s claim. It appears to come form the usual features of central sleep apnea, in which the pause in breathing is typically 10 to 30 seconds, although longer ones have been seen.
The whole interview seem to be written more for the WOW factor than for being informative.